Earth observation satellites have helped discover previously unidentified global fishing vessels, revealing that nearly 75% of the world’s industrial activity at sea was “hidden” from public view.
Use Satellite images From 2017 to 2021, a team led by Global Fishing Watch with ship GPS data and machine learning software created the first global map of large ship traffic and marine infrastructure. Their findings highlight a large number of “dark vessels,” or those that have not previously appeared in public observing systems, providing a better understanding of the global impact of human activity globally. sea.
The new maps, which have been released to the public, provide a more complete view of ocean manufacturing, which could help researchers address global concerns such as climate change. Gaining a more comprehensive view of ship movement will improve estimates of greenhouse gas emissions at sea and hold parties responsible for marine pollution accountable.
“By seeing and characterizing the activity of these expanded dark fleets, we can begin to understand and measure not only illegal fishing but also a great deal of human activity that impacts our marine environment,” said Paul Woods, chief innovation officer at Global Fishing Watch. said V a permit From the organization. “These are exciting times when it comes to open, accessible data that anyone can use for free to understand and defend the fragile marine areas they care about most.”
Related: Satellites reveal widespread illegal fishing in the Pacific Ocean
The team’s analysis showed that 75 percent of the world’s industrial fishing vessels and more than 25 percent of transportation and energy vessels are not publicly tracked, presenting challenges for managing natural resources such as marine protected areas, according to the study.
Most unidentified industrial fishing vessels are found throughout Africa and South Asia. While there are a number of legitimate reasons for a vessel not to appear in the public monitoring system, many vessels that are not identified on charts are often involved in illegal, unreported activities and Unregulated fishingAccording to the statement.
“A new industrial revolution has emerged in our seas undetected – until now,” said David Kroodsma, Director of Research and Innovation at Global Fishing Watch and co-lead author of the study. He said in another statement Announcement of results. “On Earth, we have detailed maps of almost every road and building on the planet. In contrast, growth in our oceans has been largely hidden from public view. This study helps eliminate blind spots and shed light on the breadth and intensity of human activity. Activity at sea.” ”
The team was able to locate ships and marine infrastructure in coastal waters across six continents, where more than 75% of industrial activity is concentrated. This in turn revealed changing trends in fishing activity, which has declined globally by about 12 percent during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the same time, the development of marine energy, such as oil exploration and wind turbines, has increased significantly, but the activity of transportation and energy vessels has remained stable.
“Historically, ship activity has been poorly documented, limiting our understanding of how the world’s largest public resource — the ocean — is used,” Fernando Paulo, co-lead author and chief machine learning engineer at Global Fishing Watch, said in the second report. statement. “By combining space technology with the latest machine learning techniques, we have mapped undisclosed industrial activity at sea on a scale that has never been done before.”
Their results were Posted on January 3 In the journal Nature.